'Morally wrong': Nick Kyrgios' shock call in big Novak Djokovic backflip

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Pictured here, Nick Kyrgios and tennis rival Novak Djokovic, from left to right.
Nick Kyrgios has thrown his support behind Novak Djokovic's vaccination stance. Pic: Getty

Nick Kyrgios has performed a sensational backflip after throwing his support behind Novak Djokovic's vaccination stance and insisting the Australian Open should not go ahead next year.

Djokovic's vaccination status has dominated debate around the Australian Open, with the World No.1 insisting that it is a private matter he shouldn't be forced to publicly disclose.

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There is a widespread presumption that Djokovic is unvaccinated, placing his participation in the first grand slam of 2022 in doubt after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said unvaccinated players would not be allowed into the state.

Kyrgios has been a vocal critic of Djokovic in the past, labelling the Serb a "tool" and slamming him and other rival players of flouting Covid-19 rules during the World No.1's ill-fated tour during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

In the latest episode of his podcast No Boundaries, however, Kyrgios said he respected Djokovic's vaccination stance, and said no athlete should be forced into getting vaccinated if they don't want to.

"I'm double-vaxxed but I just don't think it's right to force anyone (to get vaccinated)," Kyrgios said.

"(NBA star) Kyrie (Irving), Novak, these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much.

"They're global athletes who millions of people look up to and I just feel like it's so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed.

"There's other solutions around it."

Seen here, Nick Kyrgios reacts to a point in the 2021 Laver Cup competition.
Nick Kyrgios says he does not believe the Australian Open should go ahead in 2022. Pic: Getty

Kyrgios suggested Australian Open organisers could follow the lead of US sports who use daily rapid antigen tests.

"And rapid tests are coming to Australia. They're 85 per cent success rate and it takes 15 minutes," he said.

"You wait 15 minutes and you get a negative test and I think then you're allowed to play."

Kyrgios then made the explosive declaration that the Australian Open should be cancelled to guarantee the safety of Victorians who have endured the most severe lockdowns in the world during the global pandemic.

"I don't think the Oz Open should go ahead, in my opinion. Just for the people in Melbourne, like you've got to send a message," he said.

"Like how long did you guys do in lockdown? Two-hundred and 75 days or something?"

Victoria's Premier last week maintained no players or fans would be permitted entry into Melbourne Park unless they were fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the state's Sports Minister Martin Pakula was quick to shoot down Kyrgios's call to cancel the Open.

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"I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments," Pakula said.

"We've had a long lockdown so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? "I'm not sure I follow that.

"I think the opposite applies.

"Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events.

"Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it.

"It's a global grand slam, it's going to go ahead."

Tennis Australia (TA) is known to be none too pleased with Kyrgios's comments.

But with a ranking of No.90 in the world, the one-time Open quarter-finalist still has a direct entry into his home major - should he choose to play - and at least won't require TA boss Craig Tiley's generosity of a wildcard invite.

Pakula also doubled down on Andrews' insistence that all players must be vaccinated to play the season-opening slam.

"The premier made it clear a few weeks ago - we won't be applying for any exemptions for unvaccinated players," he said, adding that all final government rulings would likely be laid out to Tennis Australia in the coming week.

with AAP

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